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First German tourists land on Crete, stunning Greeks in lockdown

The tourism season is to start officially on May 14, however, the first tourists already arrived in Greece and thus on Crete already on the last weekend of March. Several regular flights from Germany landed in Heraklio and Chania over the weekend.

35 tourists arrived from Brandenburg and another 20 from Berlin in Chania.

15 of the tourists are reportedly to take part in a Germany reality TV show called “finding Prince Charming”, while the rest came just for holidays and will stay in various areas around Apokoronas and Kissamos. Some have interest to purchase real estate, the state broadcaster ERT  reported.

Prior to their arrival on the island, the tourists had a PCR test that was apparently negative and had filled all necessary information.

Some of them spoke to local media zarpanews and said that they had not been vaccinated. Regarding the pandemic, they said they felt safer on Crete than in Berlin.

The arrival of the German tourists coincides with the Easter of the Catholic Church.

At the same time, German Lufthansa has increased its flights to the airport of Heraklio over the weekend with 5 scheduled flights in total that arrived from Frankfurt, Munich and Hannover. There will be two flights from Munich and Frankfurt for Crete per day, local media neakriti reported.

Beginning of April, the route Amsterdam-Heraklio of Transavia is expected to be launched.

Τhe tourists’ arrival on Crete was broadly broadcast in the country that is under nationwide lockdown with several regional units and municipalities including some on Crete to be in tougher restrictions due to coronavirus infections. Schools are closed and so are restaurants, cafes and bars, retail stores and seasonal hotels.

The news stunned and also angered Greeks who are not allowed to travel to another regional unit or to move from municipality to municipality, they are not allowed to reach the sea unless only on foot and they must send an sms if they want to leave their homes.

Greeks lashed out on social media and accused the government of “double standards”. Some even suggested to be dressed like German tourists in order to visit their families in a village or another town, parents and children they haven’t seen since last November.

  • Speaking to TV channels on Monday morning, the tourists on Crete claimed that they send sms to exit their hotel – only that the <13033> cannot accept sms from foreign networks…

Apparently following the outcry, mainstream media report on Monday, that epidemiologists will most likely decide for the gradual lifting of the lockdown as of the end of the week.

Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said on Sunday that tourists will be allowed to arrive in the country before May 14, “even in April”, as part of a “pilot program.”

PS Obviously those on Crete were part of a “pre-pilot program”…

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39 comments

  1. Someone please tell me what has been the f*****g point of the lockdown if non vaccinated tourists can move freely around.
    What is the difference between them doing that and the people of Greece!!!!!

    • I am one of the intervieved “Tourists”.
      For us is a strict 7 days quarantine mandatory, with a very high fine.
      After these 7 days we are only allowed to leave the home with a permit.
      Exactly like you.

      • …. but you haven’t had vaccination, you come fromacountry with high Covid rates and you don’t respect the community you are visiting! How do you think the people feel about it? Does that matter to you?

    • The point is that there never was a point…🤷‍♀️

  2. And I have to assume those people won’t have to stay in quarantine for 7 days either.

    As a German effectively being stranded in Greece since the beginning of the lockdown because I do not dare to travel home, I fully undestand the anger of the Greek public and share it.

    • I am one of the intervieved “Tourists”.
      For us is a strict 7 days quarantine mandatory, with a very high fine.
      After these 7 days we are only allowed to leave the home with a permit.
      Exactly like you.

    • What on earth have they come here for?? Nothing is open, the beaches are not ready, the weather is nasty. Completely stupid, irresponsible behaviour

  3. It is like two different worlds with transparent walls. We are all locked in but can see others having a jolly holiday. I think the travel restrictions for Greek citizens and residents must now end.

  4. Absolute Craziness, why are they allowing German tourists that haven’t been vaccinated to land or stay and travel around Crete, when Germany has a high infection rate, just asking for trouble to hit your tourism before it starts!!! STUPID!!!!

    • Last week the main news outlets across Europe were reporting of the third wave of COVID sweeping across Europe.
      This week they are talking about opening up travel and tourism.
      For the record I am not a COVID denier, I am fully sympathetic to severity of COVID, however……….., this latest turn of events makes me wonder just how much wool has been pulled over our eyes

      • keeptalkinggreece

        it’s simple: politics & economy have won over science.

        • Does anyone still really believe that the authorities have the wellbeing of the population in mind? All policies on Covid should be determined by a group of virologists, epidemiologists, etc. (with no links to Big Pharma) and NOT by a group of incompetent politicians. Presidents, governors, mayors need to just shut up. They are only thinking about how they can be reelected and from where they get their money. It is the same everywhere, not just in Greece. Here in Brazil it is even worse than what you Greeks are going through.

      • Let’s also not forget it was the Greek government’s idea for a tourist vaccination certificate to enable people to travel around Europe once they have been vaccinated.
        Would the government like to to explain their actions to allow non vaccinated tourists to now be able to enter Greece, and seemingly have freedom to move around

  5. I guess it’s the shape of things to come – sod safety, lets get the tourist euros in.

  6. Did you honestly expect anything different from Germans. Especially at a time when a third wave if speading across mainland Europe and their vaccination programme is barely beginning. Arrogant, self centred people who care only for themselves.

  7. Simon Croydon - Fowler

    Hmmm It’s quite confusing. Lockdown means nowhere is open yet the germans are flying in causing more trouble. Perhaps it brings a new meaning to the age old problem of them needing to be first with their towels on the sunbeds.

  8. Angry as Fek! Cavan

    I don’t think it should be ended just because it has been flouted. That is just as crazy as those people being allowed entry in the first place and would automatically allow the floodgates to be opened to anyone. I believe they should be rounded up and escorted back to the airport to board an immediate flight back out again. ANGRY!!!!

  9. I commented yesterday about an EasyJet flight I watched landing at Chania. Now I see that my suspicions are right…we have been lied to by authorities that are so desperate to grab money they will try to force the intake of visitors, vaccinated or not.
    I cannot trust the guff I hear coming out of Athens…lies and more lies and I agree with a previous comment, they should be sent back. We mugs who live here try to obey the rules or else…bet my bottom dollar mr plod won’t fine germans!!! Only 1.5 vaccinations in Greece to date and then there will have to be the second jab…all this by April/May…ha pigs can fly.

  10. michele lavender

    These tourists will bring it,spread it and take it on to other countries whilst journeying around the globe.The Greeks in close distance with them dont stand a chance,however Greeks want everything to open up as well so I suppose it must eventually.Our only serious hope against this is better very efficient vaccinations at frequent times during the year and seriously improved medication for those suffering extreme symptoms.

  11. It’s not like they can do anything whilst they are here. They are still under the same rules as everyone else in Greece.

  12. Germans arriving here are clearly a high risk group and extra precautionary measures should be taken, I suggest quadruple facemasks (or as many required until there lips turn blue) and mandatory double or even triple an al swab’s to be sure they are disease free. The cost of said measures should be charged to the germans at an overinflated rate and interest set at 10000% per day. Thanks

  13. We’ve been in lock down since November, we can’t get vaccinated here in Crete, so even though we have residency here we have to fly to UK pay for test before we go pay for two tests when in UK and self isolate for 10 days. Then get vaccinated and to return do exactly the same to get back to Crete. I can fully support and understand my Greek neighbours being angry and likewise us two. We’ve all been compliant in Crete, for what!!!!!!!

    • Have you tried applying through a KEP office or a chemist for the temporary AMKA number and a vaccination appointment? We’re supposed to be able to get vaccinated by doing that (there is a government online form for KEP or a pharmacist to submit). I don’t know if anyone has actually succeeded in getting vaccinated that way, we may be put at the end of the queue but presumably eventually they will get round to us.

      • I also need a temporary AMKA, I contacted KEP by email,they replied immediately saying to goto EFKA,I did and was told to make an appointment online. http://www.testing.gr- I applied on line For an appointment last Monday and am waiting to hear back. There’s hope!

  14. FYI: Tourists have been coming to Crete throughout the winter, most via flights over Athens, or in their personal vehicles by land/ferry. There were even some few direct flights to Heraklion (for example, from Hannover with Aegean.) Of the visitors to this part of Crete where I am, (southern Coast) all had tests before they left that were negative, all were tested again upon arrival/entry into Greece, and all kept to the 7 day quarentine. (OK, did see a couple of them down at the local beach – alone – before their 7 days were up.)
    I am not saying that there is not a problem here, especially as it is not clear how, for example authorities plan to control/enforce the (still) required 7-day quarentine.

    • Why go to the UK to be vaccinated, you can get it done here!!!????

      • Wish we could get vaccinated here. But there are a number of people who after numerous attempts via the emvolio.gov.gr just can’t as the system says ‘no’

  15. Das kann man alles nicht verstehen!!!!!!
    Ich bin zwar Deutsche, aber lebe schon länger hier und halte mich seit an alle Vorschriften, kein Besuch und treffe niemanden.

    Freunde und Familie können mich nicht besuchen, der PCR Test wäre ja kein Problem, aber die Quarantäne.
    Dadurch ist das zeitlich nicht möglich.
    Ich hatte eigentlich geplant im Dezember bis Mitte Januar nach Deutschland zu fliegen. Aber Quarantäne in Deutschland. Wo im Kinderzimmer??? oder Wohnzimmer?? Also bin ich hiergeblieben. Quarantäne nach meiner Rückkehr wäre kein Problem gewesen.
    Seit dem 6. 11.darf man nirgends hin. weder nach Larissa, Thessaloniki geschweige denn zu Freunden nach Kreta.

    Muss man alles nicht begreifen. und im Herbst werden wir wieder alle eingesperrt.
    Aber aus Deutschland darf man jetzt ohne Quarantäne nach Krete fliegen.

    • Ich muss dich korrigieren, die Quarantäne gilt für alle.
      Alle die im Flugzeug nach Kreta fliegen müssen 7 Tage in Quarantäne.
      Wer sich nicht daran hält dem droht ein Bußgeld von 5000 Euro.

      Ich weiß es weil ich auch mit im Flugzeug war gestern

  16. This makes me so sad. On a day where it was revealed that 70% of those intubated are under 50. I can’t imagine how those poor overworked ICU doctors and nurses feel. It’s like a slap in the face. I naively thought this government was competent. All they’ve done during this pandemic is bend the rules for themselves and where it suits them. As it is, we have record incubations and deaths with each passing day. I’m glad the Germans get to enjoy their Easter break. What a farce.

  17. Plus a German plane arrived in Corfu over the weekend.
    Double standards and whole lots of lies. It’s all about money.
    LET US FREE.

  18. Yes, I believe that we had a couple here in Astratigos. Before those flights arrived. The risk is all ours. Well done Mitsotakis. I am waiting to get back to the Uk but will probably have to jump the hoops to do so. Why?

  19. All I can think about is how ppl in Crete always talk abt WW2 when the Germans parachuted into Crete and the Cretans fought them passionately for their land, and were proud of it. And now, to have Cretans under a hard lockdown with Germans given free circulation of the land?

    Nothing against the Germans, but symbolically for Cretans, it was the wrong group to “pilot” in my humble opinion.

  20. K Theoharris. The UK government is considering whether to allow UK citizens to take holidays abroad after 17th May due to the third wave in the EU. Do you think that allowing unvaccinated Germans into Greece will make their decision any easier. You may live to regret this decision if the UK government decide that Greece is unsafe as a holiday destination and ban travel abroad. Your decision will lose Greece millions of UK tourist revenue.

  21. My partner and I were booked to Rethymnon last September. The UK lockdown last year prevented that so we moved that holiday to September this year as we love Crete and the Greek people.
    But, we have had restrictions now since March last year and, my partner having underlying conditions we have ‘shielded’ like crazy I’ve not even seen my 21year old son since August as he lives between the Royal Navy and his mothers home.
    We will not be visiting Crete again this year as even though we are both vaccinated I will not risk taking the virus there as the Greek vaccination program is far behind. Just because someone is vaccinated does not mean you can’t contract or ‘carry’ the virus although the risk is minimised.
    I’m astonished that Germany is allowing tourists to move freely anyway let alone to Greek islands.
    My understanding was that if unvaccinated people land they are immediately tested and if negative – isolate for 7 days or positive a longer period!! Given these restrictions why would anyone want to travel on holiday to live under restrictions which, potentially could be worse than those they leave behind?
    I feel sorry for Crete and it’s people whom I love but, remember just because these foolish tourists seem to have somehow ‘got away with it’ is not a reason for people to think that their restrictions should end!! That’s very dangerous as this virus, the one that has killed so many people, is still very much alive and just waiting for us humans to do what we do so well – behave like idiots!! Stay safe everyone.

  22. Here in Mani there are tons of German tourists coming with their strange and funny “adventure” trucks. They mostly came through Italy by ferry. These last weeks (not days), their movements and arrivals has intensified. There are also some British and other nationalities, but it’s mostly Germans.
    I was wondering what was happening, as they are clearly moving around freely, and we are all stuck since November 7 without being able to go out from our prefectures, and more recently, without even being able to go beyond 2 km!
    Of course, the German tourists driving down until here from Patras or Igoumenitsa never had any quarantine.

  23. What a suprise (not) One of these people has tested positive for covid. Well you couldn’t say that you weren’t warned ??